Drills - Learning to Play Together as a Team
Explore volleyball team drills which help the team to play
together as a unit. These gamelike drills help
transfer their skills in
to Run Volleyball Team Drills?
I Mimic the Game - Run Gamelike
When players begin learning to play together as a team, it’s essential
that the drills mimic the real game as much as possible.
Mimicking the game means drills should take place in the game context,
i.e. the volleyball
flying over the net, opponents should be placed
in the other side of the net, etc.
Example: How to make a hitting drills
a gamelike volleyball drill?
For example in hitting drill it means that the
setter sets, not toss
the ball for the hitter who has opponent’s defense in place
to stop the spiker.
To make it even more game-like, the server should
serve the ball over the net for the passer who receives it to the
setter. This all helps the hitter to work on timing and take into
account the opponent’s block.
Spiking without having the
block and defense in place isn’t ultimately that much help.
Score. Add Pressure and Competition
One other way to make volleyball team drills more game-like is
to add pressure on
the players by keeping score or stats.
Try to keep the score whenever possible.
Measure the length of the drill by good repetitions.
Make players compete also in practice.
The coach could run a competition in the hitting drill; i.e. between a
starter and the player who wants the starting spot.
coach could be keeping stats to determine who is the best passer in the
team. The coach could take it so far that s/he promises the best passer
a starting position in the next match.
Team Drills – Serve and Serve Receive Drill
Example 1 -
Serve Receive Volleyball Drill
is traditionally used in offense vs. defense setting, in
which two opposing teams are competing against each other for
A wash drill can be used in servers vs. serve receive set
up as well.
Set up three passers to pass the ball. The passers are competiting as a
team against the 5-6 servers.
Having at least 5-6 servers makes it possible to use fast tempo in the
drill, which maximizes the contacts in the short period of time. (Take
into account that each player needs time to focus and concentrate on
each serve - just like in the match.)
In the match, players need to be able to serve the ball to specific
locations on the court.
In the drills below, servers are required to target their serves to specific
Example 2 -
Serve Receive Volleyball Drill
Invididual Player - Serving Lines
Zone 1 Sideline
The server needs to aim the serve to the sideline, i.e.
between the line and the passer in zone 1. The more specific the
Mark the area on the court with
pieces of tape or dots. Use i.e. 7½ foot (2,3 meter) wide area
as the target area. Look at the picture on the right.
If you have very skilled players you could make the area even narrower.
However, make sure the serve receiver stands in the natural serve
receive position - just like in the match.
Servers vs. One Passer
In this drill, one passer is competing against few servers.
Make other few servers to serve to another serve receiver to another
sideline, between the line and the passer in zone 5.
Example 3 -
Serve Receive Volleyball Drill
vs. Two Passers
Why two passers? In the match servers target their serves
often between two serve receivers.
Between the Two Passers
I.e. the server has to target the serve between
zone 1 and zone 6, in the area between two passers on the right in the
three person serve receive
Servers vs. Passers
Use at least 3-4 servers in serving to keep up fast tempo in serving.
Mark around 7½ foot (2,3 meter) or even smaller area between the two
passers for the servers to land their serves in.
Naturally you should practice also serving between
Zone 5 and Zone 6 passers - the area between two passers on the left -
in the three person line up.
Example 4 -
Serve Receive Volleyball Drill
Server vs. Individual Player
You could also set up one vs. one drill.
I.e. make non-starting outside hitter
competing against the starting outside hitter. This kind of
set up is
Lines or Other Area
Use specific area of the court as the target. You can use
i.e. 7½ foot (2,3 meter) wide area just like above.
and Adding Competition in Volleyball Team Drills
In order to teach the serves take risks and add power on their serve,
some extra allowances should be made.
They can miss some serves in the
drill as they experiment. For example, servers can be allowed to miss
one serve but not two serves in a row.
One other allowance could be that they are allowed to miss the serve
wide when targeting the sideline, but all other errors (net or long)
should be penalized. The serves also could earn two or three points, if
they serve an ace.
It Is Important to Let Volleyball Servers Take Risks?
Letting servers to take risks and miss serves in volleyball team drills
is important. When servers add power it will
benefit the passers who get opportunity to pass difficult
serves, more difficult ones than they usually get in the match.
It also gives servers the opportunity to try new, more daring serves,
which can’t be practiced in the match. The only way servers
learn to serve hard is to let them hit the volleyball hard when
which often means missed serves in the beginning.
To keep the drill moving and maximize the repetition it is important to
serve with the fast tempo, so there needs to be several servers waiting
their turn on the line. It is important servers do the same routines as
in the game. In order to keep up the fast tempo servers need to start
their routines before the previous server has finished.
In the match, servers need to target their serves to the specific spots
on the court. In this drill passers get to practice serves,
which are aimed to specific spots.
To prepare serve receivers to pass difficult jump serves and float
serves in the
game, it is important to expose servers overly difficult serves in the
Servers need to put extra power and accuracy on their
serves. In order to do it servers should be allowed to make some extra
The serving-passing drill
should go through all various serving spots.
There are at
least four spots, where servers should aim their serves: the spots
passers (2 of them) and both side lines (2). Servers also need to have
short serves in their serving repertoire.
In the passing drill passers need to be exposed to various serves;
float serves, jump
floaters and jump serves, etc.
Volleyball Team Drills - Making Drills More Gamelike
Adding Hitters and the Defense
The coach may want go a step further toward the game and add blocker
and defensive players, so the setter and hitter can work on the
Serve receivers aim to pass a perfect ball to the setter, therefore
this gives the setter a good chance to work on the sets. The
setter could set the ball for the decoy offensive player on the stand.
To make it more game-like a hitter could be approaching the
set. It gives the setter and hitter an opportunity to work on
timing between them.
Volleyball Team Drills
It is extremely important that hitters are hitting balls which are
passed to the setter, so they get to practice timing.
Moreover, if the coach wants also hitters to do a more
gamelike drill then
blockers and defensive players should be placed in the opposite side.
Formations in Volleyball Team Drills
Several passing formations could be used. You don't necessarily need
three passers to receive the ball - and still the drill can be like the
For example when aiming to
serve between the players: two passers could be placed on the half
court area when the serve is aimed between the zones 1 and 6.
servers practice serving line serves, only one serve receiver is
The coach adds competition into the drill by giving servers a point
after each perfect pass.
The coach needs to focus making the game as even as possible.
If one side is winning easily, the coach needs to adjust scoring to
make players compete. I.e. if passers dominate the competition, the
servers should be allowed to miss some serves without losing points.
to warm up for volleyball team drills?
Warm ups for volleyball team drills can be made more fun and useful for
the players. There are other options for warm ups than traditional
About Warm Ups?
How often coaches and players pay attention to warm ups? Or
it really even matter what do you do for warm ups?
Volleyball Warm Ups Are Important?
For the club volleyball teams, or any team whose weekly
practice time is limited, it is very important to pay
attention to warm ups and not to waste any practice time.
Teams often warm up by jogging around the court,
running lines, doing some push ups, sit ups, stretching, etc.
Those old fashioned warm up drills can take too much important
practice time, especially if the practice time is very limited.
Generally junior club volleyball teams have 1 hour 30 minutes
practices about 2-3 times a week. If warming up takes around 15-20
minutes, or even more out of the practice time, it probably would make
sense to let players use the ball from the beginning - to warm
up while doing simple drills with the ball.
How to avoid wasting practice
time in volleyball team drills?
Especially for the junior volleyball players practicing technical
skills is the most important matter. Also wouldn’t it be more
fun if players
would have a chance to work on some simple technical volleyball drills
instead of running, conditioning and stretching?
If you absolutely want to run traditional warm ups, try doing it before
the practice, so you save practice time for volleyball.
Why volleyball warm ups by running is not the
Not only because of the time concerns, but another reason why
consider moving away from traditional running is - it doesn’t really
warm up you for volleyball. It doesn't warm up your arms and core, it
affects mostly your legs.
In case you are already doing volleyball footwork drills for
warm ups, those can be easily included in some simple
technical drills, instead of doing
plain footwork without a ball.
Warm Up Drills for Volleyball Team Drills
The bottom line is; allow players
practice technical skills
during the warm up time. Start learning volleyball skills
Starting easy is very important to avoid
injuries; the purpose is to warm up, not to use the full power in the
Example 1: Volleyball
Warm Up Drills for Passers / Serve
You could practice volleyball passing footwork
as a warm up for example by pairing players up. Players simply perform
by feeding balls to each other.
It is more gamelike when the volleyball flies over the net.
So a better
option is to form groups of three and practice passing when
one person feeds the volleyball over the net. Feeders should remember
to toss different tosses: long, short, left, right, etc.
Passers need to work on various techniques, including a
pass from the side by rotating the torso.
Or put two teams of two players in the opposite sides of the net.
Volleyball is served over the net. After the serve receive,
receiving team serves the volleyball back over the net, etc. Serving
team may switch positions after each serve. Use two balls on
each side to make the drill more effective. You can easily set up at
4-5 teams next to each other, which means 15-20 players can do an
effective warm up on the one court.
One more time; players are not warm yet
therefore it is important to go very easy until they are warm.
Example 2: Volleyball
Warm Up Drills for Setters
If coach wants setters to practice
their footwork and setting skills, s/he can make setters to perform
their own warm ups
separately from the passers. One player feeds the ball to the
setting location and the setter sets the ball to a target who returns
the ball to the feeder.
If you have two setters as often in a volleyball team, one variation is
the setters switch positions after each set - when the setter
releases the ball to the target. Two setters (the feeder and setter)
keep switching positions while the target remains as the target.
This keeps two setters on the move all the time, but the
tosser has to toss the ball pretty close to the 10 feet line.
It is important for the setters to perform setter's
footwork when setting.
To make it easy first, don't let them set
distance until they are warm - start for example with "2-ball".
Example 3: Volleyball
Warm Up Drills for Middle
Middle blockers could do blocking footwork at
the net for warm ups.
Or if the practice theme is
blocking the whole team could be warming up by doing the blocking
To make sure players start easy the coach could lower the net.
For beginning volleyball players lower net gives a
good opportunity to work on timing and hand placement, if the
coach wants to add a hitter to the other side of the net.
the beginning volleyball players the hitters could be placed on
the box - even though it is more beneficial to run blocking drills
against a hitter who approaches and/or gets the set from the
This is a warm up, so start slowly!
To check out how you can warm up by playing games, or warm up for the
matches, go to our Volleyball Team Drills section
about game warm ups.